About the Institute

Authentic Vedic Teachings in Āyurveda & Yoga Since 1978

Our sister organization, Mount Madonna Center, has been well-known for the integrity and excellence of its regularly offered Yoga and Āyurveda programs since 1978. Mount Madonna Institute emerged from that beginning and was officially formed in 2006 to formally train and graduate exceptional practitioners who meet modern standards of practice and education set by professional associations in the United States, including the Yoga Alliance and the National Āyurvedic Medical Association.

History of Mount Madonna Institute

  1. 1971

    1971

    Baba Hari Dass (Babaji as he was affectionately called) was a living example of the kind heart, open mind, and productive life that the wisdom teachings of yoga and Ayurveda foster. He was a silent monk, accomplished author and artist, and master yogi who brought the ancient teachings to contemporary students in meaningful ways. He not only inspired Mount Madonna Center and Institute but also Mount Madonna School (PK-12th grade), Salt Spring Center of Yoga and Children's School in British Columbia, and Sri Ram Orphanage and School in Haridwar, India. Babaji passed away in 2018.

  2. 1974

    1974

    In 1974, that group formed the Hanuman Fellowship, taking the name of an ancient Indian deity representing service and devotion.

  3. 1978

    1978

    In 1978, the fellowship founded Mount Madonna Center, a 355-acre mountaintop property. From the very beginning, Baba Hari Dass taught not only Yoga, but also Ayurveda – and these were the first programs we offered, in the summer of 1978 – at the time a science of health and healing little known in the West. 

  4. 1982

    1982

    In the years that followed, a series of pioneers presented Ayurveda programs at Mount Madonna Center – first Babaji, then Dr. Trivedi, Dr. Svoboda, Dr. Lad, Dr. Singh, and Dr. Shrestha. One of the students in one of those first programs (1982) was Cynthia Ambika Copple, who went on to become our founding Dean of the College of Ayurveda. 

  5. 2005

    2005

    As the Center proved successful and grew, others also obtained Ayurveda training, and slowly a group came together of people deeply interested in starting a School of Ayurveda. In 2005, that group’s vision and energy were strong enough that the decision was made to form a new Institute, featuring a College of Ayurveda. Approvals were obtained, a substantial loan was borrowed, space was set aside for classes, and intense work began on developing curriculum, faculty, administration, logistics, a website, marketing, and an application to the State of California for approval to operate the Institute and its College of Ayurveda.

  6. 2007

    2007

    We received approval from the State of California, and, in January 2007, Mount Madonna Institute was approved by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education to offer degree programs and admitted students to its first College of Ayurveda Diploma Program. Since that first class entered in 2007, we have graduated many classes of Diploma, Certificate (Practitioner), and Masters Degree students.

  7. 2015

    2015

    Mount Madonna Institute received Eligibility from the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) to proceed with an application for Initial Accreditation!

  8. 2019

    2019

    Mount Madonna Institute earned accreditation by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) and the International Association of Yoga Therapists.

    The College of Ayurveda is also approved by the National Ayurvedic Medicine Association (NAMA) and Mount Madonna’s Yoga Teacher Training is approved by the national yoga registry, Yoga Alliance.


Mission Statement

Integrating Mind, Body & Spirit

Mount Madonna Institute is committed to holistic wellness and positive transformation. We offer graduate education and certificate programs that integrate ancient systems of Yoga and Ayurveda, within community, for contemporary life. Graduates are well prepared for careers in integrative health professions.

Mount Madonna Institute is a private, non-profit educational institution located in virgin redwood forests in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Small class size and classic Vedic sources foster authentic student learning, integrating theoretical knowledge and experiential education. Distinguished faculty offer a Master’s degree and two certificate programs. Classical curriculum and clinical experience preserve and extend the 5,000 year old science of Ayurveda, the world’s oldest known system of natural medicine and healing systems. The classical system of Ashtanga Yoga, introduced into the West by Baba Hari Dass, informs both practice and philosophy taught by devoted resident faculty.

Mount Madonna Center offers guest services, both meals and lodging, for students. Situated on 380 acres of land, on a mountain top, the campus overlooks Monterrey Bay.

Mount Madonna Institute is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), a regional higher education accreditation body. The College of Ayurveda is approved by the National Ayurvedic Medicine Association (NAMA). Mount Madonna’s Yoga Teacher Training is approved by the national yoga registry, Yoga Alliance. Mount Madonna Institute is also affiliated with the International Association of Yoga Therapists. Mount Madonna Institute is also approved by the California Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education.

Mount Madonna Institute Organization

In collaboration with Mount Madonna Institute Board leaders, faculty and staff work together to co-create shared vision and co-design transformative curricula.

President

Interim President: Swarup Wood, PhD

Assistant to the President: Jen Rand, C-AP, MA-Ayurveda

Accreditation Liaison/Institutional Research Officer: Mary Somerville, PhD

Academic Affairs

Interim Chief Academic Officer: Kamalesh Ginger Hooven, MA Ayurveda, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT

Interim Chair, College of Ayurveda: Renee Rossi, MS, MFA, MA-Ayurveda, MD

Admissions/Registrar, School of Yoga: Sean Neesley, E-RYT 500, MA-Psychology

Admissions/Registrar, College of Ayurveda: Vacant

Clinical Administration Coordinator: Jackie Christensen, MA-Ayurveda, PhD

Student Clinical Administrator: Annalise DiSalvo, AHC

Program Administrator: Jāhnavī Dana Warsaw, R-YTT 500

Research Center Director: Shraddha Ravani, MA-Ayurveda

Library Services Director: Mary Somerville, PhD

Finance

Chief Financial Officer: Shanti Cruddas, AA

Head Bookkeeper: Lila Ansell, BS

Accounts Payable: Jaya Maxon

Payroll: Anne Major

Human Resources: Tiffany Olson, BA

Bursar: Tiffany Olson, BA

Marketing

Marketing Specialist: Mariah Giunta, CHS, CMT

Website Specialist: Jennifer Dove

Ayurveda World

Manager: Manorath David Wheeler, MA-Ayurveda

Assistant Manager: Cami Arndt, AHC

Kayakalpa

Manager: Christine Tran, C-IAYT, E-RYT, RYT-500

MMI Board
  • Sarada Diffenbaugh, PhD, E-RYT 500, RCYT, Interim Chair
  • Jennifer Rand, MA-Ayurveda, YTT 200, Ayurvedic Practitioner, Secretary
  • Dr. Richard Bernstein, DO
  • Mary Champagne, CPA
  • Cathy Purnima Conway, MS
  • Yolanda Sangita Diaz-Houston, PhD
  • John Dayanand Diffenbaugh, E-RYT
  • Paula Anima Holtz, PhD, RN, FNP
  • Mary M. Somerville, PhD
  • Timothy J. Walsh, JD

Announcement from Mount Madonna Institute

Kamalesh 2022

Kamalesh Ginger Hooven has graciously accepted the role of Interim Chief Academic Officer (Provost).

Kamalesh is well known to many because of her long time dedication to Mount Madonna Institute. She has served as Chair of Yoga since 2015, is a past MMI Board member, has acted as Program Coordinator for AYT, CAP, MA, YTT 200 and 300 and has been instrumental in those programs’ curricular design and implementation. Kamalesh earned her Ayurvedic Practitioner’s certificate at MMI in 2010 and completed the MA in 2016. She is registered with Yoga Alliance as an E-RTY500 and YACEP. She has been a certified Yoga Therapist since 2016 and designed and implemented MMI’s Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy program in 2019. She serves as Chair of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA) Membership Committee and is President of the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) Member Schools Committee.

Due to her depth of knowledge in both Yoga and Ayurveda, Kamalesh will be able to guide further integration of our curriculum and increase access to our offerings. Ever since Baba Hari Dass asked Kamalesh to study and integrate these sister sciences through teaching, she has been focused on preserving his legacy and applying it to contemporary life through her work at MMI. This new position of greater responsibility allows her to further this teaching and learning legacy.

Academic Catalog

Find all program and course descriptions, calendar dates, admissions info, student's rights and responsibilities, and academic policies.

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Mount Madonna Center

Campus & Facilities

The Institute is located at and hosted by Mount Madonna Center's beautiful Conference and Retreat Center. The setting offers an ideal environment for learning and exploring within the context of a 40-year-old residential community dedicated to the principles and practice of Yoga. Students have the opportunity to directly connect, not only with residents, faculty, and other student body, but with the natural world that informs the foundations of Āyurveda and yoga philosophy. Our campus is currently closed until September 2021.

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